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The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch. Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:6). His famous Sermon on the Mount, the mount representing Mount Zion, is considered by some Christian scholars to be the antitype[1] of the proclamation of the Old Covenant by Moses from the Biblical Mount Sinai[2].

In the Gospel of St. Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount is a compilation of Jesus' sayings, epitomizing his moral teaching.[2] According to chapters 5-7, Jesus of Nazareth gave this sermon (estimated around AD 30) on a mountainside to his disciples and a large crowd. Matthew groups Jesus' teachings into five discourses, of which the Sermon on the Mount is the first.[3] The others concern instructions for the disciples, parables of the Kingdom, instructions for the church, and a harsh denunciation of scribes and Pharisees.[3]

The best-known written portions of the open-air sermon comprise the Beatitudes, found at the beginning of the section. The sermon also contains the Lord's Prayer and the injunctions to "resist not evil" (5:39) and "turn the other cheek", as well as a version of the Golden Rule. Other lines often quoted are the references to "salt of the earth", "light of the world" and "judge not, lest ye be judged."

Many Christians believe that the Sermon on the Mount is a form of commentary on the Ten Commandments. It portrays Christ as the true interpreter of the Mosaic Law.[2] To many, the Sermon on the Mount contains the central tenets of Christian discipleship, and is considered as such by many religious and moral thinkers, such as Tolstoy,[4] Gandhi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Martin Luther King, Jr. It has been one of the main sources of Christian pacifism.[2]

Contents

Location

Persian miniature of Sermon on the Mount

There are no actual mountains in this part of Galilee, but there are several large hills in the region to the west of the Sea of Galilee, and so some scholars do not feel "the mountain" is the most accurate understanding of the Greek word used in Matthew 5:1. Gundry feels it could mean "mountainous region," while France feels it should be read as "the hills." Less clinical academic analysis amongst some modern Christians has suggested the location as a hill on the north end of the Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum. The area believed to be where the Sermon on the Mount took place is unique in that it is a natural amphitheater. From the top of the north-facing hillside, any voice spoken at regular level is amplified with enough volume for people within 200 yards to hear as though the speaker were standing beside them.[5]

The Church of the Beatitudes on the northern coast of the Sea of Galilee.

One possible location of the sermon is on a hill that rises near Capernaum. Known in ancient times as Mt. Eremos and Karn Hattin, this hill is now the site of a twentieth-century Roman Catholic chapel called the Church of the Beatitudes.

The reference to going up a mountain prior to preaching is considered by many to be a deliberate reference to Moses on Mount Sinai, and though Hill disagrees, arguing that the links would have been made far clearer, Lapide feels that the clumsy phrasing implies that this verse is an exact transliteration from the Hebrew passage describing Moses. Augustine of Hippo in his commentary on the Sermon on the Mount supported the Moses parallel, arguing that this symbolism showed Jesus as supplementing the precepts of Moses, although in Augustine's later writings, such as the Reply to Faustus, he carefully backs away from this view.

Comparisons with the Sermon on the Plain

While Matthew groups Jesus' teachings into sets of similar material, the same material is scattered when found in Luke.[2] The Sermon on the Mount may be compared with the similar but more succinct Sermon on the Plain as recounted by the Gospel of Luke (6:17–49), which occurs at the same moment in Luke's narrative, and also features Jesus heading up a mountain. Some scholars believe that they are the same sermon, while others hold that Jesus frequently preached similar themes in different places.[citation needed] However, a number of scholars believe that at least one sermon never took place but was a conflation created by the author to frame the primary teachings of Jesus recorded in the Q document.[6]

The sermon's audience

That Matthew has Jesus sit down might indicate this is not meant to be a public address, and Jewish leaders in schools and synagogues would always sit when delivering a lesson. Matthew also appears to indicate that the disciples were intended to be the principle recipients of the address, and so the traditional view, as depicted in art, is that the disciples sat near Jesus, with the crowd beyond but still able to hear, while Lapide feels that Jesus' sermon is directed at three circles of listeners, his disciples, the crowd, and the world in general. John Chrysostom was of the opinion that the sermon itself was delivered to the disciples, but that it was intended for wider distribution, which is why it was written down.

Structure

The sermon comprises the following components:

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Introductory narrative (Matthew 5:1-2)

A large crowd assembles due to Jesus healing the sick, so he climbs a mountain and speaks.

Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12)

They describe the character of the people of the kingdom. These are Christ's promises of coming blessings.[7] In Matthew, there are eight (or nine) blessings, while in Luke there are four, followed by four woes.[8] In Matthew, more than in Luke, the Beatitudes refer to moral or spiritual qualities of Christian discipleship.[8]

Metaphors of Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16)

This concludes the picture of God's people drawn in the beatitudes, as well as an introduction to the following section.

Expounding of the Law (Matthew 5:17-48)

Jesus fulfills and reinterprets Mosaic Law and in particular the Ten Commandments, contrasting with what "you have heard" from others, also known as the Antitheses.

Discourse on ostentation (Matthew 6)

Jesus condemns the "good works" of fasting, alms, and prayer, when they are only done for show, and not from the heart. The discourse goes on to condemn the superficiality of materialism and call the disciples not to worry about material needs, but to "seek" God's kingdom first.

Lord's Prayer

Within the discourse on ostentation, Matthew presents as an example of correct prayer. Luke places in a different context. The Lord's prayer contains parallels to 1 Chronicles 29:10-18.[9][10]

Discourse on judgmentalism (Matthew 7:1-6)

Jesus condemns those who judge others before first judging themselves.

Discourse on holiness (Matthew 7:7-29)

Jesus concludes the sermon by warning against false prophets, and emphasizing that humans are unable to do right ("bear fruit") apart from God. The Foundation must be on the Rock.

Interpretation

The Sermon of the Mount as depicted by Louis Comfort Tiffany in a stained glass window at Arlington Street Church in Boston

One of the most important debates over the sermon is how directly it should be applied to everyday life. Almost all Christian groups have developed nonliteral ways to interpret and apply the sermon. McArthur lists twelve basic schools of thought on these issues:

  1. The Absolutist View rejects all compromise and believes that, if obeying the scripture costs the welfare of the believer, then that is a reasonable sacrifice for salvation. All the precepts in the sermon must be taken literally and applied universally. Proponents of this view include St. Francis of Assisi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and in later life Leo Tolstoy. The Oriental Orthodox Churches fully adopt this position; among heterodox groups, the early Anabaptists came close, and modern Anabaptist groups such as the Mennonites and Hutterites come closest. More recently, this view is supported by Franz Alt[11] and James W. Douglass.[12]
  2. One method that is common, but not endorsed by any denomination, is to simply modify the text of the sermon. In ancient times this took the form of actually altering the text of the sermon to make it more palatable. Thus some early copyists changed Matthew 5:22 from "whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment" to the watered-down "whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment." "Love your enemies" was changed to "Pray for your enemies" in pOxy 1224 6:1a; Did. 1:3; Pol. Phil. 12:3. John 13:34-35 tells the disciples to "Love one another". The exception for divorce in the case of porneia may be a Matthean addition; it is not present in Luke 16:18, Mark 10:11, or 1 Cor 7:10–11; and in 1 Cor 7:12–16, Paul gives his own exceptions to Jesus' teaching. Additions were made to the Lord's Prayer to support other doctrines, and other prayers were developed as substitute. More common in recent centuries is to paraphrase the Sermon and in so doing make it far less radical. A search through the writings of almost every major Christian writer finds them at some point to have made this modification.[citation needed][13]
  3. One of the most common views is the Hyperbole View, which argues that portions of what Jesus states in the Sermon are hyperbole, and that if one is to apply the teaching to the real world, they need to be "toned down." Most interpreters agree that there is some hyperbole in the sermon, with Matt 5:29 being the most prominent example, but there is disagreement over exactly which sections should not be taken literally.
  4. Closely related is the general principles view that argues that Jesus was not giving specific instructions, but general principles of how one should behave. The specific instances cited in the sermon are simply examples of these general principles.
  5. The double standard view is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church. It divides the teachings of the sermon into general precepts and specific counsels. Obedience to the general precepts is essential for salvation, but obedience to the counsels is only necessary for perfection. The great mass of the population need only concern themselves with the precepts; the counsels must be followed by only a pious few such as the clergy and monks. This theory was initiated by St. Augustine and later fully developed by St. Thomas Aquinas, though an early version of it is cited in Did. 6:2, "For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able to do this, do what you are able" (Roberts-Donaldson), and reflected in the Apostolic Decree of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:19-21). Geoffrey Chaucer also did much to popularize this view among speakers of English with his Canterbury Tales (Wife of Bath's Prologue, v. 117-118)
  6. Martin Luther rejected the Roman Catholic approach and developed a different two-level system McArthur refers to as the two realms view. Luther divided the world into the religious and secular realms and argued that the Sermon only applied to the spiritual. In the temporal world, obligations to family, employers, and country force believers to compromise. Thus a judge should follow his secular obligations to sentence a criminal, but inwardly, he should mourn for the fate of the criminal.
  7. At the same time as the Protestant Reformation was underway, a new era of biblical criticism began leading to the Analogy of Scripture View. Close reading of the Bible found that several of the most rigid precepts in the sermon were moderated by other parts of the New Testament. For instance, while Jesus seems to forbid all oaths, Paul is shown using them at least twice; thus the prohibition in the Sermon may seem to have some exceptions; though in fairness to Paul, it should be pointed out that he was not present at the Sermon on the Mount and may not have been aware of all of its teachings. See also Pauline Christianity.
  8. In the nineteenth century, several more interpretations developed. Wilhelm Herrmann embraced the notion of attitudes not acts, which can be traced back to St. Augustine. This view states that Jesus in the Sermon is not saying how a good Christian should behave, only what his attitude is. The spirit lying behind the act is more important than the act itself.
  9. Albert Schweitzer popularized the interim ethic view. This view sees Jesus as being convinced that the world was going to end in the very near future. As such, survival in the world did not matter as in the end times material well-being would be irrelevant.
  10. In the twentieth century another major German thinker, Martin Dibelius, presented another view also based on eschatology. His unconditional Divine will view is that the ethics behind the sermon are absolute and unbending, but the current fallen state of the world makes it impossible to live up to them. Humans are bound to attempt to live up to them, but failure is inevitable. This will change when the Kingdom of Heaven is proclaimed and all will be able to live in a godly manner. A similar view is also described in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, written in the late nineteenth century.
  11. Closely linked to this is the repentance view, which is that Jesus intended for the precepts in his Sermon to be unattainable, and through our certain failure to live up to them, we will learn to repent or that we will be driven to faith in the Gospel.
  12. Another eschatological view is that of modern dispensationalism. Dispensationalism, first developed by the Plymouth Brethren, divides human history into a series of ages or dispensations. Today we live in the period of grace where living up to the teachings of the sermon is impossible, but in the future, the Millennium will see a period where it is possible to live up to the teachings of the sermon, and where following them will be a prerequisite to salvation.

E. Earle Ellis (Professor of Theology at SWBTS) says that this sermon is an eschatological invitation in which Jesus is inviting believers to live according to an ethic that will be standard in the future kingdom of God[citation needed]. As Ellis says, we are to speak Jesus' words, think his thoughts, and do his deeds. Since this will be the ethic of the future kingdom of God, believers should go ahead and adjust their lives to this ethic in this age.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ See also Antithesis of the Law.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Sermon on the Mount." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  3. ^ a b Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
  4. ^ Mostly in My Religion, 1885. cf. My Religion on Wikisource.
  5. ^ http://www.tourstotheholyland.com/Christian_Travel_Guide/Mount_of_Beatitudes.htm
  6. ^ Ehrman 2004, p. 101
  7. ^ "Beatitudes." Cross, F. L., ed. The ||| (417) 830-6780 ||| Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  8. ^ a b "Beatitudes." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  9. ^ Clontz, T.E. and J., "The Comprehensive New Testament with complete textual variant mapping and references for the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus, Nag Hammadi Library, Pseudepigrapha, Apocrypha, Plato, Egyptian Book of the Dead, Talmud, Old Testament, Patristic Writings, Dhammapada, Tacitus, Epic of Gilgamesh", Cornerstone Publications, 2008, p. 451, ISBN 978-0-977873-71-5
  10. ^ Stevenson (2004), p. 198.
  11. ^ Franz Alt, Frieden isr möglich. Die Politik der Bergpredigt., 1983.
  12. ^ James W. Douglass, see his bibliography.
  13. ^ This claim is presumably from the book by McArthur cited for this entire section, however, a page reference would be nice here, as would examples of this claim.

References

  • St. Augustine of Hippo. Commentary on Sermon on Mount. Translated by William Findlay. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1601.htm
  • Betz, Hans Dieter. Essays on the Sermon on the Mount. translations by Laurence Welborn. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985.
  • Kissinger, Warren S. The Sermon on the Mount: A History of Interpretation and Bibliography. Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1975.
  • Knight, Christopher The Hiram Key Century Books, Random House, 1996
  • Kodjak, Andrej. A Structural Analysis of the Sermon on the Mount. New York: M. de Gruyter, 1986.
  • Lapide, Pinchas. The Sermon on the Mount, Utopia or Program for Action? translated from the German by Arlene Swidler. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1986.
  • Lambrecht, Jan, S.J. The Sermon on the Mount. Michael Glazier: Wilmington, DE, 1985.
  • McArthur, Harvey King. Understanding the Sermon on the Mount. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1978.
  • Prabhavananda, Swami Sermon on the Mount According to Vedanta 1991 ISBN 0-87481-050-7
  • Stevenson, Kenneth. The Lord's prayer: a text in tradition, Fortress Press, 2004. ISBN 0800636503.

External links

Sermon on the Mount
Life of Jesus: Sermon on the Mount or on the Plain
Preceded by
Commissioning the Twelve
New Testament
Events
Succeeded by
Widow’s Son at Nain Raised
Miracles of Jesus

. Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:6). His famous Sermon on the Mount, the mount representing Mount Zion, is considered by some Christian scholars to be the antitype[1] of the proclamation of the Old Covenant by Moses from the Biblical Mount Sinai[2].]]

In the Gospel of St. Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount is a collection of Jesus' sayings, which emphasizes his moral teaching.[2] According to chapters 5-7, Jesus of Nazareth gave this sermon (estimated around AD 30) on a mountainside to his disciples and a large crowd. Matthew groups Jesus' teachings into five discourses, of which the Sermon on the Mount is the first.[3] The others concern instructions for the disciples, parables of the Kingdom, instructions for the church, and a harsh denunciation of scribes and Pharisees.[3]

The best-known written portions of the sermon comprise the Beatitudes, found at the beginning of the section. The sermon also contains the Lord's Prayer and the injunctions to "resist not evil" (5:39) and "turn the other cheek", as well as a version of the Golden Rule. Other lines often quoted are the references to "salt of the earth", "light of the world" and "judge not, lest ye be judged."

Many Christians believe that the Sermon on the Mount is a form of commentary on the Ten Commandments. It portrays Christ as the true interpreter of the Mosaic Law.[2] To most believers in Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount contains the central tenets of Christian discipleship, and is considered as such by many religious and moral thinkers—such as Tolstoy,[4] Gandhi, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer—, and it has been one of the main sources of Christian pacifism.[2]

Contents

Location

[[File:|thumb|right|Persian miniature of Sermon on the Mount]] There are no actual mountains in this part of Galilee, but there are several large hills in the region to the west of the Sea of Galilee, and so some scholars do not feel "the mountain" is the most accurate understanding of the Greek word used in Matthew 5:1. Gundry feels it could mean "mountainous region," while France feels it should be read as "the hills." Less clinical academic analysis amongst some modern Christians has suggested the location as a hill on the north end of the Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum. The area believed to be where the Sermon on the Mount took place is unique in that it is a natural amphitheater. From the top of the north-facing hillside, any voice spoken at regular level is amplified with enough volume for people within 200 yards to hear as though the speaker were standing beside them.[5][not in citation given]

.]]

One possible location of the sermon is on a hill that rises near Capernaum. Known in ancient times as Mt. Eremos and Karn Hattin, this hill is now the site of a twentieth-century Roman Catholic chapel called the Church of the Beatitudes.

The reference to going up a mountain prior to preaching is considered by many to be a deliberate reference to Moses on Mount Sinai, and though Hill disagrees, arguing that the links would have been made far clearer, Lapide feels that the clumsy phrasing implies that this verse is an exact transliteration from the Hebrew passage describing Moses. Augustine of Hippo in his commentary on the Sermon on the Mount supported the Moses parallel, arguing that this symbolism showed Jesus as supplementing the precepts of Moses, although in Augustine's later writings, such as the Reply to Faustus, he carefully backs away from this view.

Comparisons with the Sermon on the Plain

While Matthew groups Jesus' teachings into sets of similar material, the same material is scattered when found in Luke.[2] The Sermon on the Mount may be compared with the similar but more succinct Sermon on the Plain as recounted by the Gospel of Luke (6:17–49), which occurs at the same moment in Luke's narrative, and also features Jesus heading up a mountain. Some scholars believe that they are the same sermon, while others hold that Jesus frequently preached similar themes in different places.[citation needed] However, a number of scholars believe that at least one sermon never took place but was a conflation created by the author to frame the primary teachings of Jesus recorded in the Q document.[6]

Structure

The sermon comprises the following components:

Introductory narrative (Matthew 5:1-2)

A large crowd is attracted by Jesus' healing of the sick. He climbs a mountain to address the crowd.

Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12)

They describe the character of the people of the kingdom. These are Christ's promises of coming blessings.[7] In Matthew, there are eight (or nine) blessings, while in Luke there are four, followed by four woes.[8] In Matthew, more than in Luke, the Beatitudes refer to moral or spiritual qualities of Christian discipleship.[8]

Metaphors of Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16)

This concludes the picture of God's people drawn in the beatitudes, as well as an introduction to the following section.

Expounding of the Law (Matthew 5:17-48)

Jesus fulfills and reinterprets Mosaic Law and in particular the Ten Commandments, contrasting with what "you have heard" from others, also known as the Antitheses.

Discourse on ostentation (Matthew 6)

Jesus condemns the "good works" of fasting, alms, and prayer, when they are only done for show, and not from the heart. The discourse goes on to condemn the superficiality of materialism and call the disciples not to worry about material needs, but to "seek" God's kingdom first.

Lord's Prayer

Within the discourse on ostentation, Matthew presents an example of correct prayer. Luke places this in a different context. The Lord's prayer contains parallels to 1 Chronicles 29:10-18.[9][10]

Discourse on judgmentalism (Matthew 7:1-6)

Jesus condemns those who judge others before first judging themselves.

Discourse on holiness (Matthew 7:7-29)

Jesus concludes the sermon by warning against false prophets, and emphasizing that humans are unable to do right ("bear fruit") apart from God. The Foundation must be on the Rock.

Interpretation

in a stained glass window at Arlington Street Church in Boston]]

One of the most important debates over the sermon is how directly it should be applied to everyday life. Almost all Christian groups have developed nonliteral ways to interpret and apply the sermon. McArthur lists twelve basic schools of thought on these issues:

  1. The Absolutist View rejects all compromise and believes that, if obeying the scripture costs the welfare of the believer, then that is a reasonable sacrifice for salvation. All the precepts in the sermon must be taken literally and applied universally. Proponents of this view include St. Francis of Assisi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and in later life Leo Tolstoy. The Oriental Orthodox Churches fully adopt this position; among Radical Reformation groups, the early Anabaptists came close, and modern Anabaptist groups such as the Mennonites and Hutterites come closest. More recently, this view is supported by Franz Alt[11] and James W. Douglass.[12]
  2. One method that is common, but not endorsed by any denomination, is to simply modify the text of the sermon. In ancient times this took the form of actually altering the text of the sermon to make it more palatable. Thus some early copyists changed Matthew 5:22 from "whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment" to the watered-down "whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment." "Love your enemies" was changed to "Pray for your enemies" in pOxy 1224 6:1a; Did. 1:3; Pol. Phil. 12:3. John 13:34-35 tells the disciples to "Love one another". The exception for divorce in the case of porneia may be a Matthean addition; it is not present in Luke 16:18, Mark 10:11, or 1 Cor 7:10–11; and in 1 Cor 7:12–16, Paul gives his own exceptions to Jesus' teaching. Additions were made to the Lord's Prayer to support other doctrines, and other prayers were developed as substitute. More common in recent centuries is to paraphrase the Sermon and in so doing make it far less radical. A search through the writings of almost every major Christian writer finds them at some point to have made this modification.[citation needed][13]
  3. One of the most common views is the Hyperbole View, which argues that portions of what Jesus states in the Sermon are hyperbole, and that if one is to apply the teaching to the real world, they need to be "toned down." Most interpreters agree that there is some hyperbole in the sermon, with Matt 5:29 being the most prominent example, but there is disagreement over exactly which sections should not be taken literally.
  4. Closely related is the general principles view that argues that Jesus was not giving specific instructions, but general principles of how one should behave. The specific instances cited in the sermon are simply examples of these general principles.
  5. The double standard view is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church. It divides the teachings of the sermon into general precepts and specific counsels. Obedience to the general precepts is essential for salvation, but obedience to the counsels is only necessary for perfection. The great mass of the population need only concern themselves with the precepts; the counsels must be followed by only a pious few such as the clergy and monks. This theory was initiated by St. Augustine and later fully developed by St. Thomas Aquinas, though an early version of it is cited in Did. 6:2, "For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able to do this, do what you are able" (Roberts-Donaldson), and reflected in the Apostolic Decree of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:19-21). Geoffrey Chaucer also did much to popularize this view among speakers of English with his Canterbury Tales (Wife of Bath's Prologue, v. 117-118)
  6. Martin Luther rejected the Roman Catholic approach and developed a different two-level system McArthur refers to as the two realms view. Luther divided the world into the religious and secular realms and argued that the Sermon only applied to the spiritual. In the temporal world, obligations to family, employers, and country force believers to compromise. Thus a judge should follow his secular obligations to sentence a criminal, but inwardly, he should mourn for the fate of the criminal.
  7. At the same time as the Protestant Reformation was underway, a new era of biblical criticism began leading to the Analogy of Scripture View. Close reading of the Bible found that several of the most rigid precepts in the sermon were moderated by other parts of the New Testament. For instance, while Jesus seems to forbid all oaths, Paul is shown using them at least twice; thus the prohibition in the Sermon may seem to have some exceptions; though in fairness to Paul, it should be pointed out that he was not present at the Sermon on the Mount and may not have been aware of all of its teachings. See also Pauline Christianity.
  8. In the nineteenth century, several more interpretations developed. Wilhelm Herrmann embraced the notion of attitudes not acts, which can be traced back to St. Augustine. This view states that Jesus in the Sermon is not saying how a good Christian should behave, only what his attitude is. The spirit lying behind the act is more important than the act itself.
  9. Albert Schweitzer popularized the interim ethic view. This view sees Jesus as being convinced that the world was going to end in the very near future. As such, survival in the world did not matter as in the end times material well-being would be irrelevant.
  10. In the twentieth century another major German thinker, Martin Dibelius, presented another view also based on eschatology. His unconditional Divine will view is that the ethics behind the sermon are absolute and unbending, but the current fallen state of the world makes it impossible to live up to them. Humans are bound to attempt to live up to them, but failure is inevitable. This will change when the Kingdom of Heaven is proclaimed and all will be able to live in a godly manner. A similar view is also described in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, written in the late nineteenth century.
  11. Closely linked to this is the repentance view, which is that Jesus intended for the precepts in his Sermon to be unattainable, and through our certain failure to live up to them, we will learn to repent or that we will be driven to faith in the Gospel.
  12. Another eschatological view is that of modern dispensationalism. Dispensationalism, first developed by the Plymouth Brethren, divides human history into a series of ages or dispensations. Today we live in the period of grace where living up to the teachings of the sermon is impossible, but in the future, the Millennium will see a period where it is possible to live up to the teachings of the sermon, and where following them will be a prerequisite to salvation.

E. Earle Ellis (Professor of Theology at SWBTS) says that this sermon is an eschatological invitation in which Jesus is inviting believers to live according to an ethic that will be standard in the future kingdom of God[citation needed]. As Ellis says, we are to speak Jesus' words, think his thoughts, and do his deeds. Since this will be the ethic of the future kingdom of God, believers should go ahead and adjust their lives to this ethic in this age.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ See also Antithesis of the Law.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Sermon on the Mount." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  3. ^ a b Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
  4. ^ Mostly in My Religion, 1885. cf. My Religion on Wikisource.
  5. ^ http://www.tourstotheholyland.com/Christian_Travel_Guide/Mount_of_Beatitudes.htm
  6. ^ Ehrman 2004, p. 101
  7. ^ "Beatitudes." Cross, F. L., ed. The ||| (417) 830-6780 ||| Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  8. ^ a b "Beatitudes." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  9. ^ Clontz, T.E. and J., "The Comprehensive New Testament with complete textual variant mapping and references for the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus, Nag Hammadi Library, Pseudepigrapha, Apocrypha, Plato, Egyptian Book of the Dead, Talmud, Old Testament, Patristic Writings, Dhammapada, Tacitus, Epic of Gilgamesh", Cornerstone Publications, 2008, p. 451, ISBN 978-0-977873-71-5
  10. ^ Stevenson (2004), p. 198.
  11. ^ Franz Alt, Frieden isr möglich. Die Politik der Bergpredigt., 1983.
  12. ^ James W. Douglass, see his bibliography.
  13. ^ This claim is presumably from the book by McArthur cited for this entire section, however, a page reference would be nice here, as would examples of this claim.

References

  • St. Augustine of Hippo. Commentary on Sermon on Mount. Translated by William Findlay. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1601.htm
  • Betz, Hans Dieter. Essays on the Sermon on the Mount. translations by Laurence Welborn. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985.
  • Kissinger, Warren S. The Sermon on the Mount: A History of Interpretation and Bibliography. Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1975.
  • Knight, Christopher The Hiram Key Century Books, Random House, 1996
  • Kodjak, Andrej. A Structural Analysis of the Sermon on the Mount. New York: M. de Gruyter, 1986.
  • Lapide, Pinchas. The Sermon on the Mount, Utopia or Program for Action? translated from the German by Arlene Swidler. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1986.
  • Lambrecht, Jan, S.J. The Sermon on the Mount. Michael Glazier: Wilmington, DE, 1985.
  • McArthur, Harvey King. Understanding the Sermon on the Mount. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1978.
  • Prabhavananda, Swami Sermon on the Mount According to Vedanta 1991 ISBN 0-87481-050-7
  • Stevenson, Kenneth. The Lord's prayer: a text in tradition, Fortress Press, 2004. ISBN 0800636503.

External links

Sermon on the Mount
Life of Jesus: Sermon on the Mount or on the Plain
Preceded by
Commissioning the Twelve
New Testament
Events
Succeeded by
Widow’s Son at Nain Raised
Miracles of Jesus


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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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English

Proper noun

sermon on the mount

  1. Probably the best known public discourse given by Jesus in the first year of his ministry, around 30 e.c. To many, the Sermon on the Mount contains the central tenets of Christian discipleship, and is considered as such by many religious and moral thinkers, such as Tolstoy and Gandhi.

Translations

See also


Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Sermon on the mount article)

From BibleWiki

After spending a night in solemn meditation and prayer in the lonely mountain-range to the west of the Lake of Galilee (Lk 6:12), on the following morning Jesus called to him his disciples, and from among them chose twelve, who were to be henceforth trained to be his apostles (Mk 3:14f). After this solemn consecration of the twelve, he descended from the mountain-peak to a more level spot (Lk 6:17), and there he sat down and delivered the "sermon on the mount" (Matthew 5 - 7; Luke 6) to the assembled multitude.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

The Sermon on the Mount is a Biblical speech by Jesus of Nazareth to his followers and a large group of people around AD 30. Jesus gave the speech on the side of a mountain. The most popular part of the speech is the Beatitudes, which are at the beginning of the speech. The sermon also contains the Lord's Prayer. Other popular lines from the Sermon on the Mount are "turn the other cheek", "salt of the Earth", "light of the world", and "judge not, lest ye be judged".

Many Christians believe that the Sermon on the Mount is related to the Ten Commandments. They believe that is very important in explaining how Christians should act towards others.

Interpretation

One of the most important debates over the sermon is how it should be applied to everyday life. Almost all Christian groups have created their own ways to understand and use the sermon in their lives. McArthur lists twelve basic schools of thought on these issues:

  1. The Absolutist view is that the sermon should be followed exactly as it was said. If this causes the person who lives his life this way to be put in danger, it is what is needed for the person to be saved. It must also be followed at all times. People who followed this view include St. Francis of Assisi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Leo Tolstoy also believed this when he was older. The Oriental Orthodox Churches believe this is the correct understanding of the sermon, The early Anabaptists came close to following this view. The modern Anabaptist groups such as the Mennonites and Hutterites come closest.
  2. One method that is common, but not endorsed by any denomination, is to simply Modify the Text of the sermon. In ancient times, people would change the text of the Sermon. This was done to make it more popular. For example, Matthew 5:22 was changed from "whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment" to "whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment." More common in recent centuries is to change the wording of the Sermon. This was done to remove parts that people would find difficult to accept. Almost every major Christian writer has made changes similar to this at some point.
  3. One of the most common views is the Hyperbole View. It says that parts of what Jesus said in the Sermon are hyperbole. They believe if someone is to use the teachings in the real world, they need to be "toned down." Most people agree that there is some hyperbole in the sermon but they argue about which parts are hyperbole.
  4. The General Principles View says that Jesus was not giving instructions. This view says that he was teaching general ways of how a person should behave. These people think that many of the things he said in they in the Sermon are just examples of these general ideas.
  5. The Double Standard View is the view the Roman Catholic Church believes. It thinks some parts of the teachings are general ideas and other parts are instructions. A person must follow the general ideas to be saved, but following the instructions is only need if the person is trying to be perfect. Most people only have to follow the ideas. The instructions only have to be followed by a very few holy few, for example, the clergy and monks. This view was created by St. Augustine. It was later changed by St. Thomas Aquinas. Geoffrey Chaucer used this view in his book, Canterbury Tales (Wife of Bath's Prologue, v. 117-118)
  6. Martin Luther did not believe the Catholic view. He created a different two-level system. This is called the Two Realms View. Luther divided the world into the religious and secular or non-religious section. He believed that the Sermon only applied to the religious part. In the every day world, the needs of family, employers, and country would make people have to do things that the sermon said they should not do. For example, a judge should follow the law when dealing with a criminal, but he should feel sorry for what happens to the criminal.
  7. The Analogy of Scripture View believes that parts of the sermon were changed by the writing in the New Testament. For example, Jesus said that it was wrong to make an oath, but Paul is shown using them at least twice.
  8. In the nineteenth century, several more ways of understanding the sermon were created. Wilhelm Hermann believed the idea of Attitudes not Acts. This view believes that what Jesus said in the sermon was not what a good Christian should do. They believe Jesus was only telling the people what he would do.
  9. Albert Schweitzer made the Interim Ethic View known. This view thinks that Jesus thought that the world was going to end in a short time. The teachings only applied to this short period of time.
  10. In the twentieth century, the German thinker, Martin Dibelius created the Unconditional Divine Will View. This view believes that the ethics of the Sermon were meant to be followed as they were said, but with the way the world is today, people are no able to do so. Humans will try to follow the ethics, but they will always fail. This will change when the Kingdom of Heaven comes back to the world. At that time everyone will be able to live in a Godly manner.
  11. The Repentance View is similar to the Unconditional Divine Will View. It believes that Jesus knew that people would not be able to follow his teaching. By failing to follow them, people would learn to repent. In this way, people would come to faith in the Gospel.
  12. Another similar view is that of modern dispensationalism. Dispensationalism divides human history into separate groups. Today we live in the period where living up to the teachings of the sermon is impossible, but in the future, we will see a period where it is possible to live up to the teachings of the Sermon. At this time, people must follow them to get salvation.

The author Christopher Knight says in his book Hiram Key, that the 'Sermon on the Mount' did not happen. He thinks that Matthew 'stuck all kinds of passages together as though they were spoken one after another to a crowd on a mountain top.' Knight believes that 'the teachings were drafted into this one 'occasion' to avoid interrupting the flow of the overall story.' The Hiram Key was created by both Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas.

E. Earle Ellis (Professor of Theology) says that this sermon is Jesus asking believers to live in a way that will be standard in the future kingdom of God. As Ellis says, we are to speak Jesus' words, think his thoughts, and do his deeds. Since this will be the ethic of the future kingdom of God, people should live their lives in a way that will help them be ready to live in God's kingdom.

References

  • McArthur, Harvey King. Understanding the Sermon on the Mount. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1978.



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